As a business traveler who logged more than 100,000 air miles per year, Anna Ford, co-founder and CEO of Jet-Set Offset, searched for and could not find a carbon offsetting service with the characteristics that distinguish Jet-Set Offset. In her former role as Associate Director of Government Affairs at Gilead Sciences, she gained deep experience building public private partnerships to change community norms and ultimately, policy. She is an alumna of Georgetown University and received her MPA from Harvard Kennedy School. In this interview, Anna Ford talks about what her company has to offer and what’s next for Jet-Set Offset.
E-3 Magazine: What exactly does Jet-Set Offset offer?
Anna Ford: Jet-Set Offset provides individuals and businesses with a simple and automatic solution to more sustainable travel. Using the Jet-Set Offset’s carbon-based offsetting tool, individuals and companies can donate one cent for every air mile flown to environmental non-profit organizations.
How does your solution work?
Ford: Jet-Set Offset functions as a fundraising tool for non-profit and charitable organizations that are focused on sustainability, as well as an easy-to-use platform for travelers to do good when they fly. We partner with carefully selected climate-focused organizations and currently work with over a dozen US-based 501c3 non-profits that offer products, education, and advocacy in areas such as clean transportation, renewable energy, land and wildlife conservation, reforestation, and green buildings. The mileage-based donations through our platform are tax-deductible.
What are the customer-side requirements? Do they need any special devices to use your solution?
Ford: For individuals, the signup process is easy and requires only an e-mail address and credit card to register their account at jetsetoffset.com and begin making offset donations. For companies using SAP Concur Travel and Expense, the process is also simple and straightforward. We’re able to work with companies of all sizes to tailor their opportunities to make offset donations or purchases on behalf of their employees, and help businesses scale their sustainable travel and offsetting programs.
Why did you start Jet-Set Offset to begin with?
Ford: I spent almost a decade in public health advocacy, and racked up an average of 100,000 miles flying each year for work. Around the time that I transitioned into a new career that began with studying public administration and social entrepreneurship at the Harvard Kennedy School, I was inspired by several landmark studies proving the impact of reducing air travel to combat climate change. At that moment, my decade of frequent flyer guilt really hit me like a ton of bricks, and I decided to focus exclusively on the environmental impact of air travel and carbon offsetting. There are many non-profits doing environmental work, so I built Jet-Set Offset as a donation-based offsetting tool that helps travelers and the organizations that are tackling climate change.
How could your solution potentially help customers navigate the COVID-19 pandemic and the different challenges of reopening?
Ford: The pandemic has elevated public consciousness of climate change, and both the aviation industry and travelers are waking up to a world of heightened awareness of the impact of air travel. And there’s a stronger desire to travel more sustainably. Companies are much more mindful that travel is a big part of their carbon footprint (for non-manufacturing companies, travel can account for more than half of a company’s annual carbon footprint), and Jet-Set Offset’s solution is one that can be incorporated into their sustainability planning and actions simply and automatically. Through a dashboard created with SAP Concur, Jet-Set Offset customers can see their company’s past carbon emissions from employee business travel. When companies understand their historical carbon footprint, they can start to plan for sustainable travel, ensuring that emissions don’t reach previous levels even as employee travel returns. This is a valuable tool for travel managers, sustainability officers, and human resource departments.
How are you connected to SAP? Can your solution be integrated in SAP systems?
Ford: At the start of 2020, Jet-Set Offset was one of 8 startups in the SAP.io Foundry San Francisco business-to-business (B2B) travel technology accelerator. This opportunity provided us with access to mentorship through SAP and allowed us to build an integration with SAP Concur solutions. Jet-Set Offset is now available on the SAP Concur App Center. This integration provides enterprise customers with a simple and accessible way to make carbon offset donations when their employees travel, and customers can also see the environmental impact of their travel from one dashboard that captures miles flown and resultant carbon emissions. The tool also prompts travel managers with convenient train transportation options based on nearby city destinations to reduce the company’s carbon footprint. Our customers can furthermore use our integration for employee engagement and communications around sustainable travel.
How has SAP.io’s involvement impacted your journey?
Ford: Being part of the SAP.io Foundry has allowed Jet-Set Offset to begin to fully realize our larger vision for a more sustainable aviation future, and the opportunity to work with SAP Concur to provide a carbon offset solution for companies is invaluable. It’s also a testament to SAP’s commitment to sustainability – we share a common goal of helping companies solve a large problem like climate change by providing opportunities to take action.
What’s next for Jet-Set Offset?
Ford: With our integration with SAP Concur, we’re working with companies and travelers to put sustainable travel plans in place with a platform that inspires action. We want to help companies benchmark and track their carbon emissions from air travel, communicate their sustainability goals with employees, and involve them in making the best choices for greater environmental impact over time. We’re also looking forward to launching our green flight booking tool, which we’ve been testing for the past 12 months. The booking tool helps travelers understand the climate impact of their flights and search for and compare flights based on carbon emissions. As vaccines are more widely available and travel restrictions are lifted, Jet-Set Offset offers travelers the ability to choose the most planet-friendly options for taking off. Take a look here.
Thank you for the interview.
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